Friday, April 29, 2011

Happy Birthday Jimmy!

Today is Friday, April 29, 2011, and I bid you welcome to the end of the work week for many, although there are plenty of folks who will be working tomorrow, and even some will begin a brand new week by working on Sunday. April is a big month in our family for birthdays. I've mentioned some to you but there are many others. Nieces, nephews, grandparents, close family and extended family, April may be the biggest in terms of births. Tomorrow, the 30th, we will be celebrating the 43rd year of our middle son, Jimmy, in his sojourn here on the planet. I well remember his birth date back in 1968. He picked up that olive complexion from my wife's people and he was a spindly little fellow as he struggled to get going. That early struggling pretty much has defined his life but we are thankful that today he is doing as well as he is. No one except those who live with it knows how it is to deal with a severe bipolar disorder. Jimmy has that as well as numerous other health issues that presents many challenges. Rarely does anyone's life read like a fairy tale and Jimmy would be the first to admit that many of his troubles were brought on by his own actions. Yet, we live in the world where God's grace is there to help each one to deal with the good and the bad that defines life in this fallen world.

Jimmy has been blessed with some precious children. We get to be with them fairly often and like all kids they can be rambunctious, but on balance, they are a joy to be around. Jimmy need only to look at his offspring in looking for blessings to count. Jimmy Jr., the twins, Alesha and Amanda, and Alexander Benjamin reflect God's handfuls on purpose. Jimmy is a very capable person. He has proven himself in the past in doing skilled technical work and he is able to tackle many home improvement projects. Unfortunately, his illness does not at this time permit him to hold a full time job, but he does what he can do. While not every day can be a great day, with God's help he continues to persevere. We, as his parents, pray each day for him that God will provide the sustaining strength he needs. None of us live in a perfect world, but we thank God that He is always there for us and we thank God for Jimmy and his life. Happy Birthday son, and may God bless. Amen. Love, mom and dad.                            ......More later.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

She's still so lovely, but what happened to you?

It's always good when friends drop by. Let me rephrase that. It used to be good when friends dropped by. That's pretty much gone the way of the buffalo although I think the buffalo have made a pretty good come back. I know when we were a young couple living in a small rural town, folks would do just that, drop by. Now if someone comes unannounced, we are not typically glad they dropped by, instead we drop dead. But since it's all done here in my blog on the electronic front porch, I don't have to worry about the upstairs and how things might look, so, good to see you and welcome to Thursday here on The View, that is, The View From Here, on this April 28, 2011. Speaking of when we were younger I found the photo shown when I was looking for the combination to our safe. I needed the combination to the safe in order to prove that I was born to the social security folks. That combination was in the middle drawer of my office desk at home but we have not laid eyes or hands on it since Hurricane Ike. I finally had to pay $20 to get the combination emailed to me. But, I digress. I found the photo when I was looking for the combination. That photo was made in October of 1962 at the local fair in our parish in Louisiana. I had met Marilyn in August of that year so it goes without saying that we both were very young. Some might say too young but it was what it was. Here's the deal. I've shown this photo to several people. All of them who know my wife immediately recognize her enduring beauty. It would be good if I could end the story right there but thus far it seems there is always a question about the fellow that is sitting next to her. Some want to know his identity. Others make unusual faces when I tell them it is me. Some have asked what happened. Thanks to one and all and let me just say that being a high mileage vehicle has its good qualities like maybe it is still running, but that's not to say it doesn't have a few dings and dents picked up along with way. Who ever heard tell? Who is the fellow sitting next to your lovely girlfriend? It's no wonder I became Santa Claus. At least they never ask me how I came to look this way!

If you are still laughing I would suggest maybe you are overdoing it just a bit. Did I go to sleep and wake up as Rodney Dangerfield, or what? I suppose I could join in on the fun and tell folks the first time I saw that photo I too wondered who it was. But the good news is that I am overjoyed that it was me then, and it is still me now. I also know that many of the comments made were in jest and as you can tell, they don't bother me at all, .....bother me, .....bother me, no, they don't bother me at all. Like water off a duck's back. I've heard that all my life and to be honest I never had a clue as to what it exactly meant, nor did I much care, but I assume water must run off a duck's back pretty easily or it wouldn't make any sense. When in doubt, check it out. I looked up this phrase on the website and after defining it as one not allowing words to affect them in the slightest, it went on to give these comments about its possible origin: Probably related to the fact that ducks have oily feathers and water can't get through them, so water runs off their backs. In the same way, criticism can either get through to someone and upset them, or not get through to them and not upset them, and be "like water off a duck's back." And, I found all that out with just a few keystrokes and it came back to me quickly, or as they used to say about Superman, "Faster than a speeding bullet!"

Yes folks, I have changed. I no longer have a desire to look and dress like James Dean. Time has made a change in me. Everything along the way has contributed to who I am today. The mistakes made, the heartaches encountered, the trying times, the challenging seasons, along with the blessings of growing in my walk with God, all of them, my sweetheart who became my wife, my kids, my grandchildren, our great grand, the jobs I've held, the fellowship of other believers, family near and extended, all of it is a part of the molding process and hopefully something coming out begins to reflect back glory to the God who has preserved me throughout all these years. It does not mean I have arrived. It doesn't even mean I am today all that God wants me to be. But it does mean that He is still at work and He is the Master Potter and He does know how to mold, make, and shape His very own into the objects of beauty He desires. Part of growing up is this realization of daily need to continue the journey, continue the path of learned obedience, and to make progress in that walk of faith that reflects God to others. The song comes to mind: "Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me, All His wonderful passion and purity; O Thou Spirit divine, May I truly be Thine Till the beauty of Jesus be seen in me." Reading those words makes me know just how far I still have to go, therefore, I had better sign off and wish you all a blessed day in the Lord. Amen.                  .......More later.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Will someone please put me in TIMEOUT!

Hello Wednesday, you sure got here quickly this week, you must have been in a hurry. Join the crowd. Right? Welcome again to my little piece of the world where I can't be sure what you will find here but I can assure you that it will be something, on this April 27, 2011. That deal about being in a hurry and not always knowing why reminds me of one of my grandfather's favorite jokes. I've told it more than once, therefore, if you remember it, good, feel free to skip to paragraph two and see what I have there. I don't know what I have there yet since I too am waiting to find out. The joke: It seems this Cajun fellow was standing with some other guys and someone ran up to him and cried out, "Boudreaux, Boudreaux, your house is on fire." The man immediately began running as hard as he could. As he ran, he struggled to keep it up and he began to think. I don't even own a house. He ran a little further and thought to himself, "Hey, my name is not Boudreaux!" Paw Paw Mac did love that little story. It may not be that funny to me or to you but it does present an interesting thought. Have you ever been there? Running so hard to keep up but you really aren't sure for what purpose, or maybe even who you are. Maybe we all could use what I threaten the grand kids with, a timeout. Maybe a little time to regroup, rethink, and even reorder the priorities we tend to be chasing. I suppose these higher fuel costs will make us all more aware of the running here and there that we do and if we choose to do less of it, that may not be a bad thing. Something to think about!

Since I am in a joke sharing mood and since I mentioned the other day about a joke I told to a good sized audience that went over real well, I suppose I should share it with you. Somewhere back in one of these more than 1,000 episodes I've shared this one also, but again, if you remember it, skip to paragraph three, and I'll catch up with you there. The joke is one told by the late Jerry Clower. He was a down home country style humorist and I recall that many years ago we all went to see him when our boys were fairly young. It seems this man had this young boy who was beset with lying all the time. They had a neighbor next door that had a woolly dog and when that dog would come over into their yard that boy would start hollering, "Lion in the yard! Lion in the yard!" The parents would come running only to find that big old woolly dog. They were real upset with the boy because he kept on doing it. Finally, one day when he had cried out again, the dad took him aside and told him. "We are sick and tired of you lying all the time, so I want you to go up to your room, get down on your knees and talk to the Lord about your problem, and you are not to come down until you make it right with Him. The boy did as his dad instructed him. About thirty minutes later he came back downstairs. The dad asked, "Now did you talk to the Lord and get everything right?" The boy replied, "I sure did and He told me the first time He saw that dog, He thought it was a lion too! Okay. That was my best joke and it didn't even belong to me but I gave Brother Jerry credit back then, and I continue to do so today.

Hello again and welcome to paragraph three. If you didn't think those little stories were that funny, that's okay because I might not think the ones you would tell are funny. Different strokes and all of that but surely we all should be able to find something somewhere that will bring a chuckle. I was watching some Disney one day with some of the grandchildren and that laugh track was driving me crazy. No matter what was being said, it was being responded to by that electronic laugh. I pointed it out to the kids and they just shrugged. Why? Because we all, obviously even at an early age, have become conditioned to having even our laughter prompted by a machine. I know they have evaluated this technique and shows with the track get better ratings than those without. That too is somewhat of a sad commentary but not to fear, there is plenty of material out there where no electronic help is needed. Where, might you find such funny stuff? I am glad you asked because there's a source you may not have paid much attention to in the past. And especially if you were like I used to be, a very serious person. Yep. That's right. It's you, yourself, and it is me, and it is the fabric of life that gives us so much potential for a good old guffaw every now and then. For those who may wonder about that word, it means a hearty, boisterous outburst of laughter. Could you use one about now? I could. I think we all could. Have a great day and may God bless each one. Amen.          .....More later.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The views expressed in today's episode are entirely the responsibility of the person who wrote it. That would be me!

Okay. Here we are. Glad you showed up and I welcome you with a prayer that God will show you His favor today, on this Tuesday, April 26, 2011. Politicians are funny animals or have you noticed? This debt ceiling issue is a big deal and there could be significant consequences if it is not raised, or at least, that seems to be the prevailing consensus. However, those pushing for it to be raised because the United States will soon be reaching the limit as to how much we can borrow are the same folks who voted against it when President George W. Bush was needing it to be raised. Leading the group loudly predicting that our way of life may be altered unless it is passed is none other than our current President, Barak Obama. He, as Senator Obama, voted against raising the debt limit when it was proposed by President Bush. He and many other prominent democrats attempted to use their vote as a way of sending a message to President Bush. But now things are different and we can't mess around with sending messages while the future of our economy hangs in the balance, and after all, when they did what they did it was all about standing up for principle, and all that malarkey. It's that old shoe on the other foot story and it is played out time and time again. President Bush was a war monger but when President Obama attacks it is always for a just cause. Uh huh. Sure it is. Mostly the differences reflect the fellow's name who occupies the Oval Office and the Party that he belongs to. Before it was okay to play down and dirty with someone like President George W., but now everyone should toe the line because our country's future is on the line. I for one will never understand why the political shenanigans we have to put up with don't come with personalized barf bags. Know what I mean Vern?

And while we are at it, how hilarious was all the hooting and hollering I heard our President doing concerning any and all responsible for the increase in gasoline prices? The hypocrisy was about up to his knees the way I see it. Didn't he actually pass a mirror on his way to being so cocky about unleashing the forces of the government on the sinister forces who are trying to make it hard for the American people and mostly they are really making it hard on him personally and politically? How about his administration's mishandling of the drilling resources we already have at our disposal here in this country? How about an economy that he's had for two years that has never recovered and remains at the brink? That in and of itself continues to trash the standing of our currency on a worldwide basis along with our prospects for a significant turn around anytime soon. Taking zero responsibility for anything that has happened, President Obama answered a student's question last week by saying he could not call to mind any mistakes that he and his administration have made. That's almost as scary as those full grown miracle vegetables that came out of the First Lady's garden even before they had time to germinate. I've heard of lights and mirrors. I've heard of slight of hand. But, I pity those who continue to have to figure out new rounds of excuses along with new scapegoats to blame for whatever happens, except the occasional good thing, and they will pounce and gobble those up before you can catch your breath. Not being negative here, just giving you both barrels of The View From Here. You know: Me, myself, and I, and the last time I checked, I am unanimous in that!

One thing we have learned about those currently in charge, there is no statue of limitations on passing the buck, regardless of the sign on Truman's desk when he was there. I am very much aware how easy it is for any of us to try and redirect responsibility for our actions or inaction. As it relates to leading our nation, I don't see too many out there who seem to be viable candidates and that is very bad news because if it doesn't change, the power of incumbency almost assures President Obama another term, almost by default. A weak field of folks who are making noise about running will not get the job done. The President and his team have set out to raise one billion dollars, yes, with a 'b', for his reelection campaign. Sure, he is down in the polls but there needs to be someone that will step forward who can inspire us to greatness again. I pray that God will raise up such a leader. But He may not because He may allow us to experience what we deserve in order to get our attention. Here in Texas, our governor has called for prayer as a way of seeking God's help in this continuing rain drought. Not a bad recommendation and while I may lack confidence in the one who called for it, that's what is needed throughout our land during this unprecedented drought of values that previously had nourished our youth, and produced a greatness that honored our God. My prayer is that God will rain down His blessings once again as America again looks to Him. Amen.                   .....More later.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Is it bedtime yet?

Brady and Alex wishing a Happy Brithday to their MiMi.
Welcome back from a busy Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. I do hope you are well as we begin another work week. It is Monday, April 25, 2011 and I bid you welcome. I spent Friday getting ready for Saturday since that was the Queen of our home and our heart's birthday. She pretty much did what she wanted to do. We started off with a special breakfast and ended the day with 17, (only 2 missing), of us gathered at the restaurant to celebrate and sing our love and appreciation for her. I heard her tell several folks that it was one of the best birthdays she had ever experienced. How do you like that? This was exactly what I had hoped would happen. On Sunday we experienced a wonderful time of fellowship as the two older adult classes took care of feeding breakfast to our little ones as they all gathered for a special Resurrection Day celebration. Our services were emotional as we recounted the price paid for our sins and the power our Lord demonstrated in His resurrection. It was a Day suited for worship of our great Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We then hurried home, grabbed a bite to eat, changed clothes, and drove across town to visit my brother. He was in a good mood and we enjoyed our time together. By 8:30 last evening I was fading fast, having used up just about all I had available in the resource column. But not to worry, I am up and at them, refueled and ready, but still thanking God for all that He allowed us to experience these past few days. Amen.

My daddy.
I also took advantage of being off on Friday to go to the Social Security Office and finish my application to be enrolled in Medicare. I had to show them my original of my birth certificate. I got there about 30 minutes early and was second in line, therefore, I was up at the window waiting on the technician about 10 minutes before the magic window was rolled up. You can count down to the exact second because those windows will not be moving until the little hand is precisely on the 9 and the big hand precisely on the 12. I know. I know. Those folks are probably doing the best they can but I just never went in for not being able to do anything at all until the buzzer goes off. I used to have a few folks that liked to operate like that in my organization and they soon learned that taking care of business came first, period, end of story. But to each his own. The lady I dealt with was pleasant enough and I was out of there within twenty minutes. While I sat before the shuttered window I was able to study my birth certificate closer than I had before. My dad passed away in January of 1954 but I could certainly see a little of me in that signature on that official birth certificate. I'm pretty sure there's no handwriting gene but the similarity was striking. I have to wonder just how much more of him I am carrying around in these increasingly weary bones of mine. I was 7 1/2 when he left us and he would have been 88 this coming Thursday. Because of the truth behind the resurrection, I will see him again some day. Happy Birthday Dad.

My Granddad.
The good news is that God always knows best and while I never got to know my dad that well, God did give me my mom's dad to help influence and mold my life. His birthday is also this week and I am not alone in pausing to thank God for this simple, ordinary man who made such a huge impact on so many lives. I don't know of anyone who knows me that doesn't also know my grandfather. Even if they just met me, it would not be long before they would hear some of his quotes as well as hearing about his life as a man of faith and family. I don't know how things would have been had my dad lived, but I do know that if I have anything much to offer in the way of being a man, my grandfather had something to do with it. Much of my work ethic, my determination, and a smidgen of my stubbornness can likely be traced back to the role model of my grandfather. He also was at the local meeting place where God's people gathered every service, rain, sleet, or snow, and always early. And you know who was often his sidekick. Okay. Enough said. At the end of the day, my daddy couldn't make me right with God by giving me life. My grandfather could only show me an example of faith. He could not believe for me. I stand before God as His very own beloved child only because of me having put my faith in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. And that my friend, is a sonship we all can possess and it matters not only for this time, but also forever and ever in eternity. Amen.                                    More later.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Birthday to my wonderful wife!

Good morning on this day that is designated as Good Friday, April 22, 2011. It is good news Friday because of our Savior who went to The Cross to pay our sin debt. It certainly was not good in terms of the pain and suffering He endured but it was a day that He embraced with joy because He knew that men, women, boys, and girls would be able to be with Him forever as a result of His sacrifice. That makes it Good News on this Good Friday.                      ###########

It doesn't happen that often but Resurrection Sunday came late this year, and we, as a family, are also excited about a special birthday tomorrow, the 23rd. We are looking forward to honoring my wife and mother of our children on Saturday evening with all our bunch getting together. Marilyn was born over in the Winnsboro, Louisiana area. I looked up the weather on that particular day on the Old Farmer's Almanac website. The low that day was around 58 and the high was 85, but there was a steady wind of over 9 mph with gusts to 15 mph. She no doubt gusted into this world with a smile on her face as she joined her farming family and began her earthly sojourn. Over these many years it's pretty hard to come up with something new to say about her. If I had known I was going to be doing this so long I would have held back some of that gushing from the previous birthdays. Not really. She deserves it all and more. The Bible tells us that a man who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord. (See Proverbs 18:22)

Some may not have ever fully appreciated the full impact of this truth in their own relationship, but I have, and it's wonderful to experience God's provision in the mate He has matched you with. Doesn't mean that it has all been perfect or without many challenges, however, it has been a blessing, and I thank God for her every day. My wife is unique. She can be funny and she can also be ferocious if anything near and dear to her comes under attack. She well fits the profile of a wife and mother who has tried to live in a way that is pleasing to God. She is an amazing woman and I am blessed to be her husband. You don't have to take my word for it. She has plenty of special friends around who remind me of that fact quite often. Her children, grandchildren, and our great grand all love her and appreciate all she has done in contributing to their lives. Me too. I am a husband that can, without hesitation or reservation, give testimony to her being a wonderful companion for these forty six plus years. Happy Birthday to my dear wife Marilyn and as I have signed my cards over the years, "Baby, you're the Greatest!" Still applies because it is still true. May God bless you on your special day. Amen.            .....More later.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Every day we have to choose how to live. With God or without Him.

Good Thursday morning and welcome once again to that place where you can take a moment and visit, think about it, and then pick up where you left off in your pursuits on this April 21, 2011. Have you ever really wanted something only to see someone else attain it, and then you were certainly glad you didn't? That's happened to me more than once and it tells me that at least in my case, it's pretty easy to get wants and needs all mixed up. I know some folks who promote that Bible verse that talks about God giving a person the desires of their heart. The actual verse reads like this: "Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart." (Psalm 37:4 New American Standard Bible) If you read that entire passage you will see how that the Psalmist David was dealing with the issues that come when evil doers appear to be prospering. Let's be frank here. Those who try to live in a way that is pleasing to God do not always have an easy time of it. David was addressing the inclination that often comes when believers begin to fret over and even become envious of those who appear to be prospering in their evil deeds. One of the ways to deal with this is to delight yourself in the LORD. When we do He will give us what we stand in need of, our desires. Not what the evil doer has but what is best for us in keeping with His will. In fact, David made it clear that those who have the appearance of prospering in their wrongful ways are headed for God's judgment. If we would spend our time delighting ourselves in the Lord, trusting in Him, then we would experience an overflowing sense of His provision and peace which far exceeds any and all things this world has to offer.

It's so easy for us to hang our hat on the getting of the desires of the heart and miss out on all that is involved in what it means to delight ourselves in the Lord. It's like another snippet we like to quote: "Trust in the LORD with all your heart,  And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths." (Proverbs 3:5-6, New King James Version) We do want that direction, don't we? But for most of us and surely for me, we may not focus as much on what it means to trust in the Lord with all our heart, learning to not depend on our own understanding, and in all our ways, and that means all, we are to recognize Him, then we see that direction from Him will come. I heard a pastor say once that there really is a way for us to get every desire of our heart from God. He went on to say that this happens when our desires are conditioned by His presence and our walking with Him, and that makes what we desire to be what He would desire for us. I talk to people quite often. You would have never guessed that I do that? And, folks are troubled about how things are going in our land. Many express their concerns for the welfare of their families. Some talk about lost dreams and how they would like just to be happy. Ever been there? Most of us have. I am glad to be able to recommend God and His provision for us all during the good times and the bad. During times when evil seems to be winning and during times when we don't know if we can make it another day. Sure, I would like to be able to promise health, wealth, and prosperity for everyone I talk to and might even begin receiving offerings as a result. I can't do that because folks need the truth. It's our only hope. He will keep His promises and we need to be striving to work on the delighting part, the trusting part, the not leaning on our own understanding part, and in acknowledging Him in every minute detail of the whole ball of wax that makes up our life here on the planet. Tough? You betcha! But the good news is that He will help us even as we struggle in all these things. And I say AMEN to that!

Struggle? You got it. We all have it. It comes with the birthright here in this fallen world. I am not preaching to anyone in particular because we all need what God can do for us. You could see it coming. I'm reminded of another song. I don't know how it would be not to be reminded of the message from a song. God has used music and lyrics over the years to minister to me in a big way. Here's that wonderful classic written by Stuart Hamblen from 1950:  "1) The chimes of time ring out the news, Another day is through. Someone slipped and fell. Was that someone you? You may have longed for added strength, Your courage to renew. Do not be disheartened, For I have news for you. It is no secret what God can do. What He's done for others, He'll do for you. With arms wide open, He'll pardon you. It is no secret what God can do. 2) There is no night for in His light You'll never walk alone. Always feel at home, Wherever you may go. There is no power can conquer you While God is on your side. Take Him at His promise, Don't run away and hide. It is no secret what God can do.What He's done for others, He'll do for you.With arms wide open, He'll pardon you. It is no secret what God can do." The story of this song is too powerful to leave out. Stuart Hamblen was a successful singer, actor, and hard drinking man about town out in California when a young preacher stormed into town to hold a revival. That young preacher was Billy Graham and Stuart hosted him on his radio station and then that night he and his wife attended the crusade. They both left under heavy conviction and at 4 a.m. they visited Graham's hotel room where they gave their hearts to Jesus. Some time later, at a Hollywood party, John Wayne commented to Hamblen that he had heard that he got religion. Stuart's reply to the Duke went something like this: "It is no secret what God can do in a man's life." A song was born. That song was real to Stuart Hamblen. That song is real to me. We serve a Great God, don't we? Amen.              ......More later.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

No. That was someone else. It was not me on that episode of Cops!

It's Wednesday and we are still here, doing my little bit to weeble wobble my way through life on this April 20, 2011. We do worry about the strangest things, don't we? Oh? That's not something you do? Well, you are not a part of the club where I have a gold card with many stars. I mailed my little check along with my tax return over a week ago and typically it doesn't take them long to get that check processed. My grandfather may have added how they usually get it done faster than a scalded dog on the run, but that's no longer politically correct so I won't use it. But, it is true that they do usually get it processed quickly. Surprisingly quick. It didn't show up right away and I began to wonder if it may have gotten stuck in that mailbox or maybe I addressed the envelope incorrectly. We did have that check stolen out of our mailbox once. I began checking online to see if there was a way to verify if my return had been processed, and actually you can check on a refund but I could not find anywhere to check on a payment. Who in their right mind would have ever wanted to be agitated about whether your tax return along with your check had been handled? See what I mean? But yesterday there it was, displayed on the screen on my electronic bank statement, and I breathed a sigh of relief. Don't get me wrong. I have nothing to hide but the last thing I need at the moment is to have the IRS messing with my schedule. I've never been through an audit but I've known plenty of folks who have and most of them came out okay but they were worn down by the process. To be honest, I could do without a good wearing out at this time. How about you?

Marilyn and I were able to visit with my brother Donald this past Sunday. He was in a very good mood, laughing and joking with us. I had them put the NASCAR race on and we sat and enjoyed it together. He was very animated and engaged, although he wasn't necessarily connecting mentally, we had a great time with him. Towards the end of the race I began to pay attention to my driver, (number 24, Jeff Gordon), and he was making his move towards the front. I announced that I would not be getting up from my chair and acting my normal out of control self when a race is close. However, the closer to the end it was, the closer my driver was getting to the lead. With about three laps to go I had to go back on my promise and I jumped up and moved closer to the set to root on my driver. (You don't have to write and tell me that my driver cannot hear me because that's been pointed out to me many times before.) I was cheering and straining to help him win the race but it turned out that three cars crossed the stripe all about the same time, and my driver ended up third. As it happened, Donald and his companion and caretaker Dotty got a big kick out of me doing my thing at the end of the race. I never like to end up being the entertainment but it was a great time of laughing all around. We thank God for giving us and him a good Sunday visit. How close was that race? The winner was only one - two thousandths of a second, (1/2000) ahead of the second place car. Take one second and divide it by 2,000 and then count just one tick off the 2000. That's what you call close!

Donald is helpless. His brain injury has rendered him unable to function on his own. We are blessed because he has someone who takes care of him. It requires a huge commitment and a faithfulness that stands out. Folks, this reminds me just how helpless we are before a Holy and Righteous God. We are born into sin and we have no hope on our own in being able to be in the sinless presence of our Creator. Yet, He knew about our helplessness, our lost condition, and the judgment that His Holy Being required. In response, He had compassion, mercy, and in love He sent His one and only Son to die that you and I as well as every man, woman, boy, and girl can be made right and live forever in the presence of our Great God. I've been listening this week to some of the online dramatized audio renditions of the Scriptures in depicting this Holy Week where this very transaction was completed on a Cross. Of course it didn't end on that Cross because early on the first day of the week, (that would be Sunday and that's why we meet on that day), those women came to the tomb where Jesus had been laid and they were told by the angel, "He is not here, for He is risen just as He said." (See Matthew 28:6) I suppose the greatest tragedy is the countless millions who fail to recognize their hopeless condition when God has made this provision for them. I pray that will change and it can for any and all who look to the Savior and His finished work on The Cross as their way of salvation. Amen.        .....More later.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Welcome to my three paragraph circus. Something for everyone!

It is now officially Tuesday, April 19, 2011 and I have some good news for you. Last week on the 12th we celebrated Tax Freedom Day. You never heard of it? That's the day that we here in America, the average tax payer, pays all the taxes owed for the year: state, local, and federal. This means that, in 2011, on average, we work for nearly 3 and 1/2 months just to pay all the taxes we owe. I didn't notice it either or I could have led us all in a chorus based on the song sung by the dwarfs in Snow White, "I owe, I owe, it's off to work I go!" I don't think too many of us have any trouble with the fact that we are super blessed in being born here in this great nation. It's not that we must pay taxes that causes most of us trouble. It's the way in which our government operates and it is how our tax dollars are spent that causes us grief. Think about it. Time after time it has been proven that one can give all their same income information to any number of tax preparers and get different outcomes from each one. That tells the story of the sorry state of the tax code that we have to abide by. I use a computer program to prepare my return. I've only had to seek outside assistance once or twice in my over forty five years of filing returns. But we all know there are ways to finesse the code and take advantage of the system. Many years ago a lady who worked for me told me her tax preparation person had advised her to fudge on some of her deductions because they would most likely be under the audit radar. One of the areas they suggested was to bump up the amount claimed as donations to the Church. See what I mean? Is it any wonder that folks doubt the credibility of our current system? I read this morning that we now have 50% of households who pay no federal income taxes. That's a remarkable statistic but I thank God that I do pay federal taxes and I am able to do so because He has blessed me with a job along with the health to get up and go each day. Amen.

I finally did it. I didn't want to do it but I finally did. A relationship broken after nearly twenty five years, but it had to be done. I cancelled my cable and had a satellite system installed.  I didn't want a parabala dish mounted on my house. I now have one. I didn't want to go through all the hassle of installing new equipment and learning a new system, but you can only be unhappy with service for a reasonable period of time and I think I have done my part in staying with them for twenty five years. I did satellite communications back in the day at the big company and I was quite surprised that while they have improved the technology in some ways, it basically works about the same. You must have a clear line of sight and that can be interfered with by things like trees and we are blessed to still have quite a few trees, therefore, we had some issues finding the right spot for the dish. Learning a new remote control is like trying to answer some of the obscure questions asked on the program, "Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader?" We have a remote for the surround sound system. We have a remote to turn on the television and to make adjustments to it. We have a remote for the satellite channels. We have a remote for the Blu Ray DVD player. We have a remote for the non Blu Ray DVD player. We have a portable telephone system where you can walk around with the handset when you are on a call. Sometimes all of these devices including the phone are all laid up together in the same area. My wife's lap top is connected right at her recliner and if we throw our cell phones into the mix, I can hardly wait to see which one we try to answer when something makes a noise. I know I've heard her call from the kitchen for someone to answer the phone and I've had to tell her it was on the commercial. Oh well.

That should just about do it in terms of my efforts to simplify our lives as we get ready to slow down and relax a little. But, we had this rule when the boys were growing up that if the pain is self inflicted you give up the right to complain. So, I would suppose what you are hearing is not a complaint but rather an extended explanation. Those rules are much easier to make for others and also easier to enforce. This past Sunday morning I was alone on the Church property but still embarrassed when I found myself hearing someone talking only to find out it was my shoes squeaking. You know you are going to have a long day when you find yourself trying to answer your squeaky shoes. That led me to a thought about a series that I am adding to my 'To Do" list. The series would be funny jokes and stories about older folks and each one would begin with the trademark: "You might be an Oldneck if ......" You might be an Oldneck if you have ever had to open your medicine bottle with a pair of Vise-grips. You might be an Oldneck if you have ever worn your clothes in the shower because the tag said 'wash and wear'. Okay. So, it might not compete with the redneck stuff from Jeff Foxworthy but I'm not going to give up on the idea. It's right there with the few hundred other ideas that I will be working on before you know it. Until then try to have yourself a wonderful day and don't let anyone catch you talking to your shoes. May God bless. Amen.             .....More later.

Monday, April 18, 2011

A very significant week indeed!

Welcome to a new work week and I bid you greetings on this Monday, April 18, 2011. Here we are again and we have this very significant week before us. The Jewish people will celebrate Passover tomorrow and for us who are believers in Jesus Christ, this is the commemoration of the events that led to His death, His burial, and His victory through His resurrection! Next Sunday will complete our worship and remembrance during this special time that happened so long ago but continues to impact men, women, boys, and girls with a life changing power that will continue throughout time and eternity. Because He lives we can face life and know that we will one day live in His presence forever. Meanwhile, here on the planet, we have the day by day grind that is certainly difficult for so many during these tough times. While folks seek to deal with the high gasoline prices and in trying to take care of their families, we have others who engage themselves in absurd distractions. It was reported last week that a United Nations Committee is near a recommendation that will grant trees and bugs the same rights as people. The recommendation will be modeled after a mother earth law that exists in Bolivia. Talk about an upside down world we are living in! But, we should not be surprised. The Apostle Paul recounted in detail about what happens when people turn from the recognition and worship of the true God to the elevation and worship of creation itself. Read all about it as found in the Epistle to the Romans, Chapter 1.

If you have ever tried to read some of the coded messages used in the social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, well, for most of us past the age of forty, the majority of it is like trying to decipher Egyptian hieroglyphics. But not to worry. I read some that have been developed for people like many of us. That would be pretty neat for us who don't seem to fit into this post modern super high tech world. I copied these from a lady who shared them with her circle of friends. Older Age Texting Codes: ATD -at the doctors. BFF -best friend fell. BTW -bring the wheelchair. BYOT -bring your own teeth. FWIW -forgot where I was. GGPBL -gotta go, pacemaker battery low. GHA -got heartburn again. IMHO -is my hearing aid on. LMDO -laughing my dentures out. OMMR -on my massage recliner. OMSG -oh my! sorry, gas. ROFLACGU -rolling on floor laughing and can't get up. TTYL -talk to you louder. I am trying to remember if I have ever used any of the codes that are out there today. I see my wife using a few of them like lol, laughing out loud, when she is texting on her cell phone. So far I have resisted adding the texting to my cell phone but I can actually see that feature in my future. I am not what you call an early adopter but typically will get there, even if it is after a whole lot of kicking and screaming.

While I was thinking about this holiest of weeks the interview between Pontus Pilate and our Savior came to mind. Here you have the Roman provincial leader in a one on one conversation with the Living Lord of the universe. Here's an excerpt from the Gospel of John Chapter 18, as found in God's Word Translation: "33 Pilate went back into the palace, called for Jesus, and asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” 34 Jesus replied, “Did you think of that yourself, or did others tell you about me?” 35 Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own people and the chief priests handed you over to me. What have you done?”  36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom doesn’t belong to this world. If my kingdom belonged to this world, my followers would fight to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. My kingdom doesn’t have its origin on earth.” 37Pilate asked him, “So you are a king?”   Jesus replied, “You’re correct in saying that I’m a king. I have been born and have come into the world for this reason: to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to me.” 38 Pilate said to him, “What is truth?” After Pilate said this, he went out to the Jews again and told them, “I don’t find this man guilty of anything. 39You have a custom that I should free one person for you at Passover. Would you like me to free the king of the Jews for you?” 40 The Jews shouted again, “Don’t free this man! Free Barabbas!” (Barabbas was a robber and insurrectionist.) I've always found this dialogue to be striking. Pilate asked a good question. What is truth? That's one for us all to think about this week as we celebrate the One who spoke of Himself as "the way, the truth, and the life". Amen.        ......More later.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Good news! Friday the 15th has been relocated to Monday, the 18th!

Good morning folks. I feel like the Energizer Bunny this morning, all wound up, but my batteries are running on empty. Joking only. I've never had the same success out of those batteries as that bunny. They work fine but it's that part about them going and going and going that I seem to have missed out on. But I will go to great lengths to keep from having to change them out. Know what I mean? I will point that remote at every angle possible to try and get that station changed when I could just pop in some new batteries in maybe 20 seconds or less I would be flipping through channels like there's no tomorrow. It's a guy thing mostly and I really don't know why we are that way. To put yourself in all kinds of weird positions trying to get one more channel out of the remote versus taking the time to change out the batteries, well, we can be a funny lot, don't you think? The good news is that we find ourselves right smack in the beginning of a brand new day, and we look at the calendar and find even better news, it is Friday, April 15, 2011, and we don't have to pay our taxes today. See, I told you, it is good news! There's a local holiday in Washington, D.C. today, therefore, the filing deadline has been moved to next Monday, the 18th. I know there are huge numbers of people who are so happy that this year Friday the 15th has been moved to Monday. And, come Monday there will be cars lined up at the post office to drop off their returns. I suppose it makes some sense for folks who do this as a ritual, but I have never really seen any merit in joining a traffic jam to drop off an envelope that I could have mailed two or three days before. Maybe it's the idea behind it, a statement being made, but to me, I could use that time to change out batteries in the remote. See what I mean, Vern?

I've never denied that I have issues. One of the big personalty testing techniques has to do with choosing colors. You can find these out on the web. They have to do with you selecting the colors you like the most versus those you do not like as well. When you finish the series of selections they give you feedback on your personality. Here's my problem. I'm not always sure which color I like the best in a particular series and I even have trouble figuring out which ones I like more than others. These tests work by correlating the colors that you typically favor to established personality profiles. But I am a blended hue person and my clothes and stuff around me is mostly dull, therefore, I'm not sure exactly which color I am, and now I am upset about it and because of that it's making me angry because I can't decide. Woe is me! It's okay. Joking only. The way I see it is that if there are statistical matches that indicate color choices based on certain characteristics, there would have to be some exceptions. Therefore, I rank myself in the exception category. My favorite color is to not have to choose a favorite color. My least favorite color is to not have to worry about having a least favorite color. No. Please don't send me the number of someone who would put me on a couch and try to figure me out because I happen to like that 'exception' category and maybe next time I will write in rainbow when they ask what my favorite color is. Uh-huh, that's right, all of the above, none of the above, and one I like even more, no answer given. I just might be like a chameleon where my choice of color depends on where I am and what I am doing. Put that in your personality evaluation pipe and smoke it, good buddy.

If nothing else, surely you can feel better knowing you don't have to be me. I almost identify with that statement and that may well reflect part of my problem. It could be some of that blue or green leaking out. But enough of that nonsense. Last Tuesday evening at our Crosstrainer Bible Club for inner city kids, the young woman who taught the lesson shared with the children something about the importance of choices they will be making and how those choices impact them staying on course with God. This Bible club ministry has been going on for some fourteen years and while she didn't call any names, she shared with the children some of the choices made by previous clubbers. One young man is in prison for murder. Several have been arrested for drugs. Others have been caught stealing. Several had become injured as a result of being involved in gang activity. One young lady is doing time for her role in a killing. She stressed how that all these young men and women were at one time learning their verses and singing the songs at Crosstrainers. The room was very quiet and these testimonies very chilling. Choices. We all make them and we are all prone to make wrong choices. Her message to them was how they cannot wait until the moment of decision, they need to do the things every single day that will keep them on course before having to face those choices. It's an every day commitment to do life with God's help, God's way. Her message was powerful. We counseled with a room full of boys as a result. It was a powerful word to them and it is a powerful word to you and I today, no matter who we are, or how many years we have lived here on the planet. They need the Lord. We need the Lord. Living without Him leads to tragic results. It is a truth well noted for those former club members, for our present club members, and for you and I today. One of the ways to stay on course with God is to become an active part of a local fellowship of believers. That's why I always encourage everyone to show up at the meeting place on Lord's Day Sunday. May God help us all in the choices we make. Amen. See you next time and may God bless.              .......More later.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Here's the real question, "Got milk? And is it the sincere milk of the Word?"

As you no doubt have noticed, I often wonder about myself. I used to tell people all the time I didn't know what I wanted to be when I grew up, and for better or worse I am still saying that same thing up until my current age. That famous line from Peter Pan comes to mind, "All children, except one, grow up." I know, I know. I had better make up my mind soon or what is already a moot point will become a moot fact of history. It's mostly a joke anyway but it has always been intended to portray a sense of adapting to whatever situation that God places me in. Back when I was at the big company people often said things about my career. I always corrected them by telling them I saw it as a place to come each day to work and use my skills, not a life pursuit. This is what came to my mind on this Thursday, April 14, 2011, and I bid you welcome once again. I do know that God has in mind for us to be like children in many ways. He through the Apostle Peter told us, that we, regardless of our age, should always desire the sincere milk of the word and the illustration given was that of a nursing baby. ("As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that you may grow thereby:" 1st Peter Chapter 2, Verse 2) The mother's milk is a matter of survival for that newborn child and if you have ever seen a very hungry baby you know just how desperate they can become for that nourishment. I used to think that growing up in the faith meant putting aside milk and substituting something stronger to eat. There is the need for maturity and to become meat eaters as opposed to always eating baby food, however, our maturity can only be achieved as we continue to be like a nursing baby in our desire to take in nourishment from God's Holy Word. It took me many years to gain insight into this, and I pass it on because if we fail to desire the intake of God's Truth we will surely end up taking in the wrong stuff which always leads to unhealthy results. Been there and done that.

I continue to think about thinking about all that I need to do to get my medical stuff lined up for that huge life changing event that will take place later this year when I turn 65. I pretty much know what I will do regarding Medicare and additional insurance coverage but you still have a number of procedural hoops to jump through to get it all set up. I called the 1-800 number for enrollment and spent maybe 15 minutes getting everything set up so that I could be handed off to a real person. I finally got the real person and was told that it would be necessary for me to make contact with a local office in our area. Therefore, I went through another process to find out that I now have an appointment to receive a telephone call next week from someone in our local area office. The only thing missing from all of this was one of them telling me that I had forgotten to say 'may I?' but I fully expected to hear it at anytime. They didn't use a laugh track but I really thought the dialogue and interaction had much potential for a Tim Conway and Harvey Korman skit, but since I seemed to be making it through the various steps without any static, I decided not to share this insight with the government worker on the line. I know that Harvey Korman passed away in 2008 but that didn't stop me from enjoying the thought of that dynamic comic duo. If you were to somehow figure out a way not to be feeling like you are getting older, I have a bit of news for you, this process will change that in a hurry.

Having to work through all these issues and knowing my wife will be walking down that same road soon is enough to make one begin to wonder about things like when the statue of limitations runs out on this age deal. The other night when I was up leading the cheer for our Bible club meeting the thought hit me that perhaps a man my age shouldn't outta be doing things like that. I get those thoughts quite often these days. Maybe that tune I'm hearing in my head is the late Ernest Tubb singing "Too Old to Cut the Mustard Anymore". That sentiment actually originated back in the late 1600's when mustard was used as a metaphor for the genuine article. Since mustard, the condiment, was used to add spice and vitality, it became a part of the lingo of that day indicating something that was excellent or the best. There are different views about the use of the word cut. Some think that it has to do with cutting the actual mustard plant, meaning that you are really not up to it if you can't manage to cut the plant. However, it has come to mean that one is not up to meeting the expectation associated with a particular activity. It's not something you hear every day but I do remember hearing it from time to time when I was growing up. The 'too old' part was added and there you have it, an anthem for those who reach whatever the 'too old' age happens to be or it could perhaps be for those who have to play word games with the voice automated system on the other end of that 1-800 number. You know me. When they asked the spelling of my mother's maiden name I couldn't help but remember the variety of ways it has been spelled, even within our family. I went with the one she uses and the system took it, and I breathed a sigh of relief. Now you know why I started today's episode wondering about myself. See you next time and until then don't forget to nourish yourself by taking in the sincere milk of the Word. Regardless of your age, it will do a body good! Amen.     ....More later.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Will Rogers: "The income tax has made more liars of the American people than golf has."

Here's what I saw and heard when I tuned in TV many years ago: "Buffalo Bob: 'Say kids, what time is it? Kids: It's Howdy Doody Time! It's Howdy Doody Time. It's Howdy Doody Time. Bob Smith and Howdy Do Say Howdy Do to you. Let's give a rousing cheer, Cause Howdy Doody's here, It's time to start the show, So kids let's go!'" For those who know how to copy and paste, you can find a preserved recording of this opening on YouTube at this location: That show was televised beginning in 1947 and it ran through 1960. I don't remember being a big fan or anything but I do well remember it being on and us kids watching it. Part of that no doubt had to do with the fact that we had only one channel to watch. Those silly looking puppets would likely not fit into the 3D world that our grand kids deal with as they watch television and play their video games in today's high tech world. But, I will reaffirm what you already know and that has to do with the fact that with 200 channels to choose from there are often times when there seems like there is absolutely nothing to watch. Maybe I should change that to, nothing worth watching. But, I bid you a Howdy Do on this Wednesday, April 13, 2011. Yes I am old enough to remember Howdy Doody; Pinky Lee; Kukla, Fran, and Ollie; Fury; My Friend Flicka; The Lone Ranger; Hoppalong Cassidy; Rin Tin Tin; Roy Rogers; and yes, even The Three Stooges. In fact, if you grew up when I did and you couldn't imitate any of the three stooges' antics, voices, and sight gags, well, you were certainly not a part of the 'in' crowd. We would watch an episode of one of the TV westerns and get up immediately and go and replay it using our own toy pistols and western gear. I know. Shooting some renegades before supper is no longer politically correct but it did get us up and going. Nowadays there's very little of the get up and go because kids just sit and watch Phineas and Ferb over and over, over and over, again. I have actually caught myself mimicking some of those cartoon characters my grandchildren watch. It may be time for me to say, "Beam me up Scotty!"

Speaking of inmates running the asylum, here's some interesting facts that you may not have known. Can you guess what group is made up of individuals with these achievements? 29 have been accused of spousal abuse, 7 have been arrested for fraud, 19 have been accused of writing bad checks, 117 have bankrupted at least two businesses, 3 have been arrested for assault, 71 cannot get a credit card due to bad credit, 14 have been arrested on drug related charges, 8 have been arrested for shoplifting, 21 are current defendants in lawsuits and in one year alone, 84 were stopped for drunk driving. This is supposedly a list of charges against those who actually made up one of our sessions of Congress back in the early 2000's. Maybe in order to make the laws you have to know how to break the laws. And, it wasn't just way back then. Today we know that the internal revenue service has a huge problem with many of their employees who are delinquent in paying their tax bills. It is currently estimated that federal employees as a whole owe more than $1 billion in unpaid back taxes. Even at the White House this problem continues. In March of this year it was reported that some 41 executive branch workers are delinquent in paying their taxes. No one is perfect and we all have fallen short but when you hear about stuff like this it does make some of their lofty words about sacrifice seem rather shallow. I know the small business here where I work is being beat down with the taxes that have to be paid, or else. Meanwhile, General Electric, one of our President's favorite companies, who received a bail out, made $14.2 billion in profits for 2010 and paid exactly zero dollars in federal taxes. One more time, "Beam me up Scotty!"

I suppose all of this is fresh to me because I dropped my fat envelope along with a check made out to the IRS into the mail receptacle yesterday. I don't have a problem with paying taxes owed. It is a Bible ordained duty. (See Romans Chapter 13) However, people are right to be disillusioned about a system that produces results like that of the GE example. Most folks only want a fair system. While that is likely impossible to be achieved where fallen people are involved, it certainly could be much closer than it is today. A system that produces such implausible free rides for the most profitable while penalizing those who are already squeezed in the middle is a system in need of reform. That's a goal that is always on everybody's to do list, especially those running for high office. Politicians and their promises. It's no wonder folks become cynical. President Obama is pretty good at the politics game. He ran on a platform of not extending the so-called Bush tax cuts, no matter what, but when they got extended, he stood up and took credit for their continuance. This recent budget battle caused the President to accept $79 billion in cuts that he said at the start he would not even consider. After the smoke cleared I heard him take credit for the largest single one year reduction in the budget ever agreed to. You have to give him credit. He may be the best example of that old saying. That's the one that speaks of the fellow who pleads for mercy because he is orphan after having killed his parents. I mention all of this only to say it's no wonder we are in the mess we are in. God's Word has a better plan for people, for nations, and for those who govern. Were we to follow His plans I would not have to say one more time, "Beam me up Scotty!" Have a blessed day. Amen.                 .......More later.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

It's later than we think. America needs a revival back to God!

Welcome to what I can now designate as a long running serial called, You Bet Your Life, or, So Much to Share but so Little Time, or, You Wouldn't Believe Me if I Told You, or, and finally, just simply, The View From Here, which is exactly the way it is designated on this page up in the left hand corner. It's Tuesday, April 12, 2011, and I appreciate the opportunity to spend this brief amount of time with you. One fellow told me that he sees my blog as a way for him to have a cup of coffee with me each morning. I could not come up with anything better than that. I've always wanted it to be like a visit on the front porch where we just sit and enjoy a time of fellowship. You want to know how hard up we are for anything to watch on TV? We actually sat and watched the different news channels as they did the count down to avoiding the government shutdown last Friday evening. Sorry to admit it, but we did watch it, and yes Virginia, Santa Claus does need to bring a sack full of good old common sense to those who supposedly represent us in the White House and in both houses of Congress. While the news media and their elevated and pompous pundits focused mostly on who won or who lost, I had my own notions about why they finally reached an agreement. Here's my take: The social media circles like Facebook and Twitter were sizzling with commentary from ordinary folks who found it hard to fathom that our men and women in uniform would have to go with only a partial payment or no payment of their salaries while the fat cats in Washington received theirs regardless of a shut down or no shut down. People were outraged. Playing games with the pay of the folks that far too many end up coming home in a box, that was the straw and I think none of those in D.C. wanted to be riding that camel. You didn't hear that on the news but you did hear it from me and that would be in keeping with, The View From Here.

But we didn't shutdown and we all breathed a sigh of relief. Yes, I am aware that we all might be better off if they were not coming into their offices in Washington because at least they wouldn't be tampering with our lives on a 24 hour basis. But, things like the military and some relief type expenditures would have suffered if a shutdown had occurred. I think folks get riled in a hurry when they hear that congress folks are considered to be essential while those eating sand in Afghanistan are not. At any rate, we are back to our normal of only needing to borrow 5 billion a day to keep ourselves afloat. Many say this little skirmish was only a preview of what is to come when the budget for next year comes up. Oh well. It gives them something to run with on the 24 hour cable channels. Yesterday morning coming in to work I was listening some to American Family Radio and they were running a series about the drafters and signers of our Declaration of Independence. While people today are entitled to their opinions, they are not allowed to have a different set of facts than that which history reports. The overwhelming majority of those involved in the founding of our nation were believers in the Lord God of heaven and promoted faith in Jesus Christ as a way of seeing the nation become all that God had for her. These are the facts. Go back and read what they had to say. Go back and read the official proclamations they signed as Governors, and in their many recorded and preserved letters. This does not mean they intended to force religious views on any American citizen but it did mean, as a nation, we, according to those who risked their all to see it begin, that we would be a nation under God. These historically documented facts are no longer being used to ground our school children as they once were now that we have textbooks that feature a politically correct revisionist view of how this nation came to be. What would some of those whose names on that document put them immediately on the wanted dead or alive poster have to say about this development? They would say God help our nation and God bring revival to our land. Amen.

I know what some of you are thinking. You read that first blog from May of 2007 and were greatly impressed with its brevity. You saw that and like the Vietnamese American co-worker used to ask me, "What happened you?" What can I say? It was my first time out and I was still using blog training wheels. Once I became comfortable with the medium and how it worked, well, the rest, as they say, is history and given the length of today's missive, one can correctly conclude the very first blog was not the model but only a prototype. I have readers who actually spend more or less time taking it all in depending on the subject matter. My wife pretty much hates any and all things political and she only skims those that tend to go on and on about that subject. However, I have said often and will say again that while we don't always get to choose the things our government does and does not do, we do get to choose whether we will engage the process or not. I had this discussion the other day with my eldest son. He said he couldn't see himself voting for particular individuals who are making noise about trying to run against President Obama. I said if any of those we were discussing gained the nomination I would probably do a write in for someone I believed to be a better choice. He said, rightfully so, that doing it that way would end up being a vote for President Obama. I agree but I also think that way too many of us have compromised principle on our way to trying to be pragmatic about the end results. Voting your conscience as God would lead is always going to be the right way as I see it, regardless of the impact of that particular vote. In the end, without God's blessings on our nation we are a very destitute people indeed. And, may that change as we seek Him! Amen.              ........More later.

Monday, April 11, 2011

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then I wonder what a thousand of my blogs might fetch.

Welcome to this auspicious occasion on this Monday, April 11, 2011. I struggled with auspicious and perhaps suspicious would have been more accurate but I decided to go for the gold because today I am pausing to recognize the 1,000th time that I have sat myself down and wrote myself a letter and included many others as part of the distribution, in this, what I will call, my great blogging adventure. (It actually happened last Friday, so there you have it, me being a day late again.) If it is true that every journey begins with the first step, that means my bulging blogging file had to start with the very first one I wrote. It was back on May 9, 2007 and I want to celebrate this 1,000th episode by sharing that very first one with you because it does speak to my motivation in beginning this daily exploit. But first I want to thank those of you who have read my blogs. That's right. There are many who faithfully read what I have to say. In fact, when something goes wrong and they don't get my blog, they become concerned because it is usually there early each morning. You would be right to think I'm talking about my mom because she is one of my faithful readers and my wife. But, believe it or not, there are many others and from time to time I hear about how a particular theme, story, or Bible text used in my blog has struck a chord and brought a smile, a tear, or a word of encouragement. I have some who think I really am a good writer and while I greatly appreciate their kind words, I wouldn't want to test their confidence in any formal way because of how that might turn out. Some have told me that I missed my calling and they intended it as a compliment. Truth is, maybe in some ways, my blogs reflect me finding my calling because if I have done anything to help anyone along the way, then I give God thanks for giving me that opportunity. How long will I continue? Good question. It fits in well with my grandfather's comment as I was growing up, "Son, are you ever going to come up for air?" He was talking about me talking, therefore, in honor of his observation, I will say that while I might not be doing this every day for the rest of my life, I'm not yet ready to quit click clacking the transfer of my thoughts and ideas to the keyboard, into the blogging utility, and then out onto the world wide web, or as Buzz Lightyear would say, sending it, "To infinity and beyond!"  As always, any and all glory, if it is genuine and praise worthy, then it should go to our Great God. Okay. Here's how it all got started. Enjoy. Thank you for tuning in and may God bless us all as we continue our journey together. Amen.            ......More later.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

May 9, 2007

Well, it took me over sixty years to get here and as Yogi Berra reportedly said, "You sure can observe a lot just by watching". That observation stuff, however, can be both good and bad especially if you are determined not to revise any of it, that is, if that's possible since reflections and memories over time tend to take on a life of their own as they all become fused together. Some days it's "Wow, I can't believe the life I have enjoyed!", while another day might be, "Hey, I'm not sure I can make one more day!". This is how it works in the so-called real world and we have trouble because the roller coaster ride can start without notice at anytime even right smack in the middle of one of those really great days and suddenly you find your heart pounding and breath interrupted by the crashing ride. Okay, maybe not quite that dramatic but with age, maturity, family, more family, relationships, issues, challenges, and chaos all around, it can be quite daunting.

However, I call this blog The View From Here because when it's all said and done, it's the way I see it. You most likely see it differently but that's what blogging is all about. We can speak from our viewpoint, our way of interpreting all the things we have to deal with, and in general, the viewfinder through which we see the world, and especially our world.

One final thought in this opening monologue: I know that without God as the foundation of my life through my identity with His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, there would be little hope in all the ups and downs encountered in this journey called life.

Friday, April 8, 2011

It is going to be the day that God has given to us, so let's do the best we can with it!

Ever feel like you have been pulled through a rat hole backwards? That sounds pretty gruesome but I grew up hearing that said as a way of expressing that very tired or fatigued feeling we encounter at times. I am not ready to agree that I am there but I will tell you that I may soon have to send out a search party. It seems my get up and go has got up and went and I am currently trying to locate it. But I am not complaining because the fact that I have really had a busy week, a challenging week, one where I needed to be built more for speed than comfort, is a testimony that I am still in the game, not as a major player perhaps like I once was, but still able to stand up and be counted. And I am thankful to God for the opportunity to contribute, here at work, at home, and in the areas where I am able to serve, also in helping support our extended family, my brother, and as they had on my job description when I worked in the federal civil service, Other Duties as Assigned. That catch all was one that always brought a smile since so much tended to fall into that category. Yet, here I am, able to greet one and all, and to welcome you once again into my little world, subtitled, The View From Here, on this Friday, April 8, 2011. How in the world are you doing, anyway? The one thing we all know is that we are not alone in being busy in this life. I groan and moan some here on this page mostly for comedic purposes because there is no doubt that there are many others living here, there, and everywhere who are burning the candle at both ends much more than I. Most of them don't get the opportunity to tell others about it, but I do. And, thank you very much for listening.

Do you ever get to the place where the grinding noise coming out of Washington D.C. becomes mostly aggravating and  annoying? I agree with President Obama that it is time for the folks there to act like grown ups, but he might just stop on his way to the microphones and look in a mirror, because he is also a major player in all of these shenanigans going on, and on, and on. Everybody accuses the other folks of playing politics. The pollsters are working overtime but not on stuff that matters. They are busy trying to get the pulse of the voting public on this burning issue: If the government is shut down, who will be blamed? I blame them all. I blame the corrupt system that we have allowed to rule our everyday lives. I blame the special interests, the lobbyists, and those who buy and sell our interests as their primary jobs. Okay. I think you get my point. I am an equal opportunity blamer. The problem is that I see no end in sight. Whatever happens, you and I will end up having to live with it, pay for it, and the posturing and the politicizing will continue unabated. Every tax credit, every tax incentive, every deduction, has to be paid for, sooner or later by someone. That someone is you and I because all funds originate from spending whether we buy products and pay taxes or pay taxes directly. That's what makes it all no laughing matter because we, the people, are the ones who pay, today, tomorrow, and given the national debt, as the country song says, forever and ever, Amen. One day they will get their act together. Don't hold your breath but also don't be discouraged because God is going to take care of His own and that's a fact we can live by, today, tomorrow, and forever. Amen.

Okay. That's enough about that. I just wanted you to know that I am paying attention especially when they are doing all their tricks and we end up being the yo yo. But I always try to end on an upbeat note so that we can finish the work week in anticipation of our Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday. How about a funny story on my favorite subject these days, the older folks?. An old couple is having another couple over for dinner. While the two women are fixing the dinner, the men start talking and one says to the other one "I took my wife to a great restaurant last week - wonderful food, huge portions, great service, and low prices." The other man says "Sounds great. What was the name of the restaurant?" The man says "What's the name of that red flower that you give to someone special?" "Carnation?" his friend asks. "No, that's not it." "Poppy?" he asks again. "No, that's not it either." "Rose?" he asks. "That's it. Now I remember. Hey Rose, what's the name of that restaurant we went to?" I may not be exactly there yet but I have my moments. One thing I have learned is that if you haven't developed a sense of humor about it, growing older will be a real drag because there will be times when, without warning, you will find yourself making your own funny. Maybe that's how God intended it to be. For some, they never really learned to smile about the quirkiness in life, therefore, they get to be their own source of comedy when they get older. I just wish I didn't have such a backlog of material. Maybe I should become a stand up comic but that would require me to remember the jokes. Oh well, best just to enjoy it as it comes up. Have a great day and Lord willing I'll be right here at this same place next Monday morning. May God bless.   Amen.                     ......More later.